Clements Center
Clements Center

Graveyard of Analogies: The Use and Abuse of History for the War in Afghanistan

Paul D. Miller Mar 09, 2016

Associate Director Dr. Paul D. Miller has published an article in the Journal of Strategic Studies in Spring 2016 on the misuse of historical analogies for the war in Afghanistan.

Abstract: Decades of scholarship have warned against using historical analogies for policymaking. But the Taliban insurgency appears, on the surface, to confirm the usefulness of historical analogies to the British and Soviet wars in Afghanistan. I review the use of analogies for the war in Afghanistan and argue the analogies were historically unsound and strategically unhelpful. In fact, their effect on policy helped create the conditions for the very insurgency policymakers most hoped to avoid. The Taliban insurgency did not occur because of the presence of too many foreign troops and aid workers, but because there were too few. 

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